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Blackout Britain — why our energy crisis is only just beginning

Costly green measures are behind our rocketing energy bills. But as politicians dither, an even greater crisis awaits

David Rose — The Spectator — November 16, 2013

BASF, the world’s largest chemical company, has been headquartered in Germany since before the country formally existed. Founded in 1865 by the industrial pioneer Friedrich Engelhorn, it still occupies the vast site on the banks of the Rhine at Ludwigshafen where its first dye and soda factories were built. A third of its staff are employed in Rhineland Palatinate. It is a global company, yet as German as Goethe and gummi bears.

A few days ago Kurt Bock, the firm’s chief executive, warned that its Ludwigshafen plant may soon be forced to close, with BASF’s German jobs relocated elsewhere. The reason, he said, was Germany’s soaring energy costs and the crippling green levies being used to pay for ‘renewables’ such as wind farms. With German energy prices already twice as high as in the United States and likely to rise much further, the time had come to reconsider ‘the competitiveness of the location’.

BASF’s British rivals should take no comfort from this. For years Britain has, like Germany, chosen green energy over cheap energy — and piled regulation after regulation, levy after levy, on the providers of fossil fuels. In Germany the effect is now becoming apparent: the sacrifice of industry on the altar of environmentalism. It may sound like economic suicide, but it is precisely the policy which David Cameron’s government is pursuing.

Energy now stands at the very centre of British politics, a subject enlivened by Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze household energy bills. His policy is wildly popular, seeing as gas and electricity prices have roughly trebled in the past ten years. More than five million households are now in fuel poverty. As winter advances, the choice between heating or eating isn’t some abstract slogan, but a daily dilemma. Each winter in Brtain, some 25,000 elderly people die from the cold.  Continue reading here….

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